Two priests stabbed to death in UP’s Kudarkot, angry locals take to streets
The murders triggered widespread protests in Kudarkot where people pelted stones on the police and tried to set shops afire. Two policemen, a station house officer and a constable were suspended.Updated: Aug 16, 2018 01:19 IST
Two priests of a historic temple in the small town of Kudarkot near the ravines of Uttar Pradesh’s Auraiya district were brutally murdered and a third was critically injured by unknown assailants, sparking street protests by local residents.
The murdered priests were identified as Lajjaram, 67, and Halkeram, 60, who had lived on the Bhayanak Nath Shiv temple premises for a long time. The injured priest, Ram Sharan, had joined the temple three days ago and was sent to hospital, additional superintendent of police, Rajesh Saxena, said.
The police said the victims were overpowered in their sleep, tied to their cots, and stabbed with sharp weapons. One of the priests had his tongue cut. The murders were reported by another priest who lives in Kudarkot and who found the bodies on Wednesday morning.
The murders triggered widespread protests in Kudarkot where people pelted stones on the police and tried to set shops afire. Two policemen, a station house officer and a constable were suspended.
As the police arrived at the temple,protestors set tyres ablaze and flung them on to the roads. As news about the murders spread, hundreds of the people took to the streets. They hurled stones at the police personnel. Other groups attempted to burn shops in Kudarkot. The police cane-charged the protestors, who were demanding the arrest of the killers.
Police superintendent, Nageshwar Singh, and district magistrate, SP Mishra, assured the protestors that the police would solve the murders at the earliest and arrest the suspects.
Locals told the police that the priests had been vocal in their opposition to cow slaughter in the region, which may have had something to do with the murder.
Inspector general of police, Kanpur, Alok Singh, who visited the site to pacify the protestors said the claim was being investigated. He claimed that the situation in Kudarkot was under control.
The Shiv temple, about 7 km from Kudarkot, is in the forests and close to a river. In the past, the temple had opposed cow slaughter near the river bed. The rugged terrain offered an advantage to people involved in the cattle trade, locals said.
Samajwadi Party chief, Akhilesh Yadav, announced relief of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of the dead priests and Rs 50,000 for the family of the injured. Appealing to the people to maintain calm, Yadav also demanded that the Yogi Adityanath government provide Rs 25 lakh to the kin of the dead.